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The Issue Cabinet

The formation period has begun and the discussion within parties that will be involved in the final composition of a future cabinet is in full swing again. There is discussion about the choices that will have to be made over the next four years. In addition, beliefs about the best solutions vary widely. Wouldn't it be cool if the next cabinet appointed ministers who focused on the major social issues of our time? To respond to this, we are presenting the Issue Cabinet! A number of issues are so prevalent in society, both in the Netherlands and in other countries, that they need to be looked at in an innovative manner. These issues therefore deserve their own minister or even ministry, and therefore belong on the red carpet.

Ministry of Climate
To start with, the Ministry of Climate. The issues surrounding the climate concern us all. Appropriate policies must be made because we all want to achieve the Climate Agreement goals, right? Dropping this issue under the same ministry as Economic Affairs is no longer possible. You also see this in the countries around us. Belgium has a Minister of Climate, Environment, Sustainable Development and Green Deal. Germany has a Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety. Moreover, Germany has long recognized that the climate is something that deserves special attention: Angela Merkel was already Minister of the Environment in the Kohl government (1994-1998). The proposed Ministry of Climate will also include a Minister for Rural Affairs. The farmers have a major role in climate policy and it is not without reason that they have revolted and have now even entered the House of Representatives.

Minister of Housing Shortage
A problem that needs to be tackled effectively is the housing shortage. The solutions in the various party programs are not all sufficient. The Dutch Central Bank has its own solutions to the problem: proportionately fewer owner-occupied houses should come onto the market and buying a house should be taxed more heavily. This issue requires the view of economists, but also has its own political flavor: parties such as GroenLinks and the PvdA are convinced that owner-occupied housing must also be affordable for people with a lower income. The VVD wants to make it easier to take out a mortgage for people who currently have difficulty getting a house, such as people with student debt. The solution is therefore not so clear, but the problem is emerging rapidly. So it would not be a bad idea to dedicate your own minister to this issue.

Ministry of Inclusivity
Another issue that no one could ignore recently has been put on the agenda by the winner of our own Issue Award: the Black Lives Matter movement. We also advocate a Ministry of Inclusivity. A ministry that goes beyond racism; women, disabled people, LGBTQI+, people with rare diseases and other marginalized groups receive the attention they deserve. An important point: a new integration policy will also fall under this ministry. We already had a ministerial post like this in the ministries under Balkenende and must now return.

Ministry of Digital Affairs
A Ministry for Digital Affairs may be less obvious to the average Dutch person. However, we can no longer ignore digitalization. There is far too little knowledge within the House of Representatives about the subject. Innovations in this area are happening very quickly and it is important that the subject remains close to people, instead of being seen as a threat. Countries such as America and China are developing rapidly in technology. As Europe, we can distinguish ourselves by keeping the ethical side of technology clearly in view.

Minister of Loneliness
This pandemic shows once again how careful we have to be with our health. This also applies to our mental condition. In several countries, such as Japan and previously also in Great Britain, a Minister for Loneliness has been appointed. In the Netherlands, attention has previously been paid to the complaints of loneliness, including through the One Against Loneliness campaign. A ministry or possibly a state secretary can ensure that this issue remains on the radar and that targeted policy is developed.

Minister of Issue Affairs
It would be really cool to appoint a special Minister of Issue Affairs. A minister who is primarily committed to preventing possible crises and issues. By specifically monitoring the effects of legislation and new measures, and what is happening in society, many problems can be solved or prevented. In addition, if a crisis breaks out, this minister can be immediately released and direct and shape the crisis organization and communication. You can appoint someone with specific knowledge and experience for this purpose, to avoid overloading ministers. Moreover, it can identify any problems that (may) arise in the field of new or existing legislation during the implementation and draw attention to them.

All in all, we think that this Issue Cabinet gives the most important issues that are currently going on the attention they deserve. While it may not make formation easier, it will ultimately make us better as a country.

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